Sunday, December 26, 2010

Micah's Second Christmas

We are very thankful and blessed to have Grandma Linda with us this Christmas. Here are a few pics from our Christmas day and the day after...
Papa made us waffles for breakfast. Micah's getting good at giving back rubs :)
Auntie Jordan got him this wooden train.

He's quite good at opening presents now!

It's Pea Freely!

Reading his new “Owl Babies” book. “I want my Mommy!” Three baby owls wake in the night to find their mommy GONE! Will she come back soon? Quite appropriate as we are currently dealing with some severe attatchment issues :(

Micah greeting a Christmas evening visitor.

Day after Christmas visiting at a friend's house.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bad Trip

This is one of the posts I wrote while in Niamey before Christmas but didn't post because I couldn't retrieve the pictures to go with it, but I've decided to go ahead and post it anyways...hopefully one day I can add the pics!

This is a long one, folks…

Thursday morning we drove down to Niamey to pick up Grandma Linda who was coming in in the wee hours of Saturday morning. I think this was the worst Niamey trip ever to date, Donnie would not disagree. You see, he was (is) recovering from malaria. I think he may have had the flu on top of it. It was day three of three of his treatment and the meds really seemed to be tearing up his stomach. He had wrenching stomach pain and had been nauseous and vomiting for two days prior to our trip and not keeping anything down, food or liquids. Thankfully, though, when it came time to take meds he was able to keep those down! This particular morning he had only thrown up once but was still nauseous, having stomach pains, body aches, and occasional fever and chills. I was beginning to wonder if his treatment was really working.

Currently, with the way the roads are, the trip can be done in about nine hours if you don’t stop. This time it took us 15 1/2 (breaking our prior record in February of 2008 of 14 hours). An hour or so of that was spent in Tahoua checking the post (empty :( ), withdrawing money from the bank (only one check had cleared :( ), and starting an IV. Yep, I said starting an IV. My first one in two years…I never imagined it would be on the side of the road in Tahoua! Donnie was just too dehydrated already and needed fluids. Our driver was driving very slowly, partly because he didn’t want to jar Donnie too much, and partly because he didn’t think our truck could go much faster (it can)…he was only prolonging our misery. We broke down twice. The second time was at dusk, a belt had broken, the radiator overheated, and Donnie felt like he was getting worse! I was to the point of tears, overwhelmed with Donnie being sick, trying not to panic, and fearing we would never make it to Niamey. Normally we were just over two hours outside of Niamey, but with it getting dark we would be slowed down greatly as our headlights pretty much suck and every time there is oncoming traffic we have to slow WAY down because we can’t see a thing.

At this point I was at the end of my rope. One minute I’m thinking, why bother praying, I can’t pray anymore, what’s the point, my husband is still sicker than a dog and He doesn’t seem to be answering either of our prayers and I’ve been praying all day long. The next minute I’m thinking, I’ve been praying all day, I’m pretty sure Donnie’s been calling out in agony all day too, and I know others are praying for us…what would things be like if none of us were praying?

And I just have to say here, Micah was such a champ! He was so good all day long; he hardly fussed and was just chill. Such a blessing as I don’t think I could have dealt with both him not being pleasant and a still very sick Donnie.

Finally, at 10:30, we arrived! It seemed that the moment he got out of the truck Donnie was starting to feel better, he even wanted to eat. I gave him one more bottle of fluid and then took out the IV. It was such a relief and we were so thankful to finally be here.

Here are a few pics from that day… if I can ever retrieve those pics of the memory cards, this is what they will be...
6441:Bad road. This is what much of the first hour south of Abalak looks like.
6443: Dirt track to the side of the road that is better than driving on the actual road
6444: Getting fluids
6445: IV start...beautiful!
6450: Here’s the little guy. Our old team truck doesn’t have seatbelts, so a car seat is pointless.

My mom arrived the next night at 2AM…with all of her bags in tow! We all went to the airport to meet her. Normally they don’t let people in to the debarking and luggage claim area, but a nice policeman let Donnie through, good thing because Mom needed a little help. We’re so happy to have her here and we’re so thankful for everyone back home who helped her get here, we can’t thank you enough! And thank you to everyone else who sent us presents, we are much appreciative!

[Another pic here: 6452:] Grandma Linda is here!!! Cuddling with her sleeping grandbaby while we check out our loot. I think we got back to the house somewhere between 3:30 and 4:00.

Little Monkeys

Mr. Bubbles


A Garden Pot

One of his favorite places.

Bon-Bon Glace

One of his favorite things.

It's Christmastime!

Time to bust out the Christmas music and decorations put up the tree!

Micah had fun playing with the decorations…

…and playing in the empty boxes!

Did Hannah label that tin?

Me and my boy

Micah helped with the decorating.

I have video of him last year sitting under the tree in his carseat, he couldn’t reach the ornaments with his hands so he scooted down and was kicking at them with his feet. I wonder if he remembers that?

Micah's First Thanksgiving

This year for thanksgiving we were invited to spend it with some other M folks in Tahoua. Us, the Mannixes and Sarah’s friend April, and the two Southern Baptist couples that live there. Nine adults and three small children gathered ‘round the table made for a festive meal. We had most of the Thanksgiving essentials, excepts for cranberry sauce and my mama’s sweet potatoes—three small chickens stood in for the turkey, and of course there were mashed potatoes and gravy, Stovetop stuffing, and green bean casserole (onions and cream of mushroom sent from the states—great ideas for holdiday care packages!), plus yummy meatballs!

After lunch the kiddos played. Well, Caleb and Micah played, I think they were a little too much for the other little boy…those crazy bush kids! Then they watched a movie before settling in for their afternoon naps…

One of the few pictures I have where my son is actually wearing clothes!

Micah Playing Peek-A-Boo

He does this almost every time I put a diaper on :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Market Day

Alkassoum and Aboubacar. The ‘grocery store’ where I buy most of my Abalak staples.

Someone bought a new bed. And a sack of rice. Donkey carts are one of the main modes of transport around here.

Sometimes I buy fabric from this guy.

Need a broom?

Meat Market. They leave the tail on so you can tell if you’re buying sheep or goat. This one’s a sheep.

This one is for Erica Brim...This is how bush people charge their phones.

Tuareg leather tents. Much cooler than a plastic tarp!

Haussa woman cooking for the market day crowd.

Peanuts, tomatoes, and peppers.

Wow, those are big horns!

People bring grass from places that have it and sell it for about 50 cents a bag.

I don’t know that people actually cook with these but they pound them up and use them in makeup and they also string them into necklaces. The smell of them reminds me of Christmas.

Monday, August 30, 2010

AFBC Food Distribution

Anyone who gets our newsletter or regular updates has heard about what a bad year it is here. After two years of little to no rains and the severe lack of pasture that goes along with it, we knew that we were facing another food crisis, worse than that of 2005 which received international media attention. By the end of the hot season, cows that would normally sell for $500 in market were going for $10. Driving through the region you would see dead animals everywhere. Thankfully the rainy season did start (and is still going) although it seemed to come a little late farther up north. With the first big rain up north came flash floods which took many people’s remaining stock that had survived the hot season. Without their animals they have no means to buy food to feed their families. So now there is pasture, but many people don’t have animals to eat it. Environmentally speaking, it’s probably a good thing as the zone is over grazed, but for those individuals who have lost everything it is catastrophic.

In the midst of this catastrophe Arcata First Baptist Church gave $7,000 to help us feed the poorest of the poor. With that money we were able to buy a sack of millet, a sack of rice, and a 5 liter jug of oil each for 70 families. This will feed each family for approximately two months. The beneficiaries were from seven different sites, both Wodaabe and Tamasheq. Each one was more than grateful.

Some of the food waiting to be distributed.

Micah waiting to go out to the bush.

For security reasons, just to be on the safe side, we took armed guards out with us. They were quite taken with Micah

One of the grateful recipients.

“Signing” for their grain with their thumb prints

Micah helping with the distribution

There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of aid coming in and really the crisis is just beginning, or I guess you could say it continues. We call it post-crisis. We made it through the hot season and the rains and the pasture have come, but now many people are left with nothing. Next we will do what we can to help people re-stock their herds so that they can hopefully become once again self-sufficient.


One night while Donnie was in Niamey we were talking on the phone, “I have a surprise for Micah,” he says, “but I’m not telling you what it is.” Ok, whatever. The week continued and I forgot about Micah’s surprise. It wasn’t until after he had gotten home, the truck was almost unloaded and then out jumped this little guy…

And then I remembered the surprise.

Keep in mind this is the same man who wouldn’t let me keep a puppy I found in the street. Anyone else see the irony here?

He seems to really like us, especially Micah. Sometimes he gets really excited and jumps up and down when he sees him. I’m sure if Micah could, he would do the same thing. Rest assured we supervise these monkey/baby interactions very closely.

Marcel has made himself at home on our porch. I have mixed feelings about the little guy, he is rather cute and has grown on me but he poops everywhere and now I can’t just let Micah go out on the porch to play. We untied him thinking he might decide that freedom is a beautiful thing but now he just climbs trees and wants to come in the house. I guess he’s gotten a bit attached to us.